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Upper Atmosphere Roundup

June 1, 2007

A new technology could tap the jet stream for energy.


High-flying windmills. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The Earth’s jet sream blows at speeds of up to three hundred miles an hour. Scientists say that just one percent of the energy in these winds could supply all of the Earth’s energy needs. In the Journal IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, researchers describe their plans to harness that wind power. One prototype could generate 240 kilowatts—enough to power a remote village.

In other news, a large team of European students have collaborated on a low-orbit satellite that can deliver small parcels from space to Earth. The satellite has a 20-mile-long tether from which it will dangle a 13-pound package. It’ll slingshot the parcel to a target in Russia. If it works, it could provide a new way for astronauts to send experiments back to Earth.

I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.